Category Archives: Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Basics: Payments to Workers and their Families

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Here’s the next installment in the firm’s series that focuses on the basics of the workers’ compensation system. It gives information on how payments to injured workers and/or their families are handled. 

Workers’ compensation generally pays by the week, although it may be paid bi-weekly or monthly in some circumstances. The amount of the payment is established by state laws or statutes, regulation or court decision. 

Family members are paid in the event of the death of a worker arising from an accident or disease. Family members are occasionally paid for providing home-health care.     

The amounts paid and duration of payment varies from state to state. Generally there is a minimum and a maximum. The maximum is usually two-thirds of the gross wages earned, with a limit that is adjusted from time to time. 

To calculate the amount actually paid, most states use average wages for a specified number of weeks or months before the injury, death or disease. 

Payments are made for temporary inability to work, which is generally labeled temporary total disability. There may be a waiting period before payments begin. The waiting period varies from state to state. 

Payments are also made when a worker is temporarily limited to light duty and working either fewer hours or for a lower rate of pay. These benefits are called temporary partial disability. 

Payments are made for permanent inability to work and, if severe enough, some states pay for the worker’s lifetime. Some states do not pay for less than lifetime. These benefits are called permanent total disability. 

Payments are made for permanent reduction of the ability to work. This benefit is normally labeled permanent partial disability. 

Payments that are made for loss of body parts or limited use of body parts are also labeled permanent partial disability. State law establishes the value of the various body parts. 

Payments are less frequently paid while workers are participating in retraining or vocational rehabilitation. This is not a common benefit. 

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION DOES NOT PAY FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING. 

It is important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have questions or concerns about any of the information shared here. Please read the previous blog posts in the workers’ compensation basics series by clicking on these links: 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Workers' Comp Basics, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injury and tagged , , , , , .

Infographic: Considering the Health Hazards of Shift Work

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As a follow up to the recent blog post on research into shift work, here is an excellent and very informative infographic from Eastern Kentucky University’s program that focuses on occupational safety.

Note that the infographic includes both night shifts and those who have irregular schedules as shift workers, and that 40 percent of U.S. workers work evenings, nights, rotating shifts or weekends.

Though there is usually some sort of compensation, whether more money, or extra paid time off, health complications are numerous, and this blog will continue to bring that research to light as it is discovered.

I find rotating shifts very challenging to consider – if a person completely flips, or even changes by eight hours, their shift every three or four weeks, what does that do to them as a person, and also, what does it do to their loved ones? I realize that not everyone has the luxury of choosing their shifts, but this article from the Washington Post has some fascinating information about how children are affected by shift work. I also appreciate that policy implications are addressed a bit, too. Though it would be an uphill battle to get these protections passed in many places, think of the stability they would add to workers and their loved ones lives.

“In 2015, 10 states and a growing number of municipalities have introduced bills to address unpredictable scheduling, with many including provisions requiring three weeks advance notice, 11 hours of rest between shifts, access to adequate hours, and predictability pay to compensate employees for last-minute schedule changes,” according to the Washington Post.

Rotating shifts are stated as a struggle for 60 percent of shift workers, but they are still “able to do their jobs,” according to the Eastern Kentucky University infographic. However, the infographic also addresses that 20 percent of shift workers “have extreme difficulty with shifts and about half of those are unable to tolerate shift work at all.”

So whether the shift is 4 p.m. to midnight, all night long, or eight or 12 hours, please keep in mind that workers and their loved ones are affected, and employers should do their best to decrease those challenges to both retain workers and increase productivity.


EKU Occupational Safety Program

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injury, Workplace Safety and tagged , , , , .

Workers’ Compensation Basics: Understanding Social Security Disability Offsets

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This is the next post in the series that looks at the basics of workers’ compensation. If you receive both workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Administration disability benefits, please be aware of the concerns raised here.

The most important thing a worker who is entitled to receive both workers’ compensation and SSA disability benefits can do is report the amount of workers’ compensation benefits to the Social Security Administration, in writing if possible. Failure to do so can result in an overpayment that may not be uncovered until years later and may be thousands of dollars.

However, the reporting of these benefits doesn’t ensure the SSA will make the proper adjustment to your SSA monthly benefit. As such, it’s important to follow up with the SSA once you have reported your benefit amount to ensure they adjust your SSA benefit to account for this. This will help ensure an overpayment is not found years later. Be sure to ask an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have questions.

Please read the previous blog posts in the workers’ compensation basics series by clicking on these links: 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in social security disability, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , .

Workers’ Compensation Basics: Understanding the Injured Worker’s Right to Medical Care

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choose-a-family-doctorHere’s the next installment in the series that looks at the basics of workers’ compensation.

Under the Nebraska workers’ compensation laws, you may have the right to choose a family doctor to treat you for your work-related injury.

You may choose a doctor who has treated you or an immediate family member before this injury happened.

Immediate family members are your spouse, children, parents, stepchildren and stepparents. The doctor you choose must have records to show that past treatment was provided.

If you want to choose your doctor, you must tell your employer the name of the doctor you choose.  You need to do this as soon as is practical after the accident or as soon as your employer gives you the notice of the right to choose your family physician to treat you for your work injury form.

If you are in need of immediate medical attention and or emergency medical care, you have the right to obtain care immediately.

If you, or your family, do not have a family physician, then your employer has the right to choose the doctor to treat you.

However, if your workers’ compensation claim is denied for any reason, you have the right to choose any doctor to treat you for your injury.

Any time you are faced with a major surgery recommendation for your injury, you have the right to choose the surgeon to do the surgery.  You can choose any surgeon.

If you have any questions about your medical rights please feel free to contact us.

Read the previous blog posts in the workers’ compensation basics series by clicking on these links:

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Doctor, Doctor Choice, Nebraska, Workers' Comp Basics, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , .

Workers’ Compensation Basics: Choosing a Physician

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The series that examines the basics of workers’ compensation continues with this blog post.

In Nebraska, injured workers have a right to treat their work injuries with their own family doctor if that doctor has previously treated the worker, or an immediate family member, before the work injury. In other words, if a worker doesn’t have a family doctor, but his or her spouse, children, parents, or stepchildren have a doctor, the worker can see their doctor for his or her work injury as well. This is very important, because oftentimes, you can trust your family doctor to treat your work injury (and know your medical history) more than a doctor that your employer picks for you.

Not only may an injured worker elect to treat with his or her own family doctor for a work injury, but the injured worker may treat with any doctor if the employer does not provide the injured worker with a choice of physician form, or if the employer has denied payment of the work injury. In these situations, the chosen doctor is not limited only to the injured worker’s family doctor; it can be any or as many physicians as he or she chooses.

Many employers do not adequately inform their employees of their right to choose their own physician because they may want to steer an injured worker to a doctor who works for the employer. More specifically, a doctor recommended by an employer may be more likely to release a worker back to work too soon or not provide adequate treatment, in order to reduce costs for the employer.

In sum, you nearly always want to choose your own doctor for your work injury. You’ll likely get better, more personalized treatment from someone you trust, as opposed to the “company doctor.”

Read the previous blog posts in the workers’ compensation basics series by clicking on these links:

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Insurance, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , .

Is “Light Duty” Really Light Duty?

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One phrase that is thrown around in the world of workers’ compensation is “light duty.” Light duty refers to a job done by an injured worker while they are on work restrictions. However “light duty” isn’t always light duty if the employee physically struggles with doing their light-duty job. To me, light duty can be a misleading description of what injured workers go through when working alternate-duty jobs. Here are three situations where I think the term light duty is misleading.

1. Employee forced to work without restrictions with one limb when the other limb is restricted. This is common in the meatpacking industry with hand, wrist and arm injuries, and I have seen it in construction as well. Employers read work restrictions too literally and force employees to work unrestricted with the uninjured hand or arm. Unfortunately, the result of this is that the other arms or hand can get injured through overcompensation or overuse. This can lead to another and/or a larger workers’ compensation claim, which also leads to more medical expenses, pain, suffering and inconvenience for the injured workers and their families.

2. Doctor-given restrictions do not really reflect true physical restrictions. This can happen for a couple of reasons. One reason is that a doctor might not know the “light duty” job description. To remedy this, the employee needs to be clear about telling the doctor what his or her actual duties are so the doctor can give accurate job restrictions. Having a written job description is extremely helpful. If management makes it difficult for you to get a copy of your job description, this should indicate that you need to contact a lawyer and that the company may be discriminating against you because of your injury. Second, the doctor may be unduly influenced by an employer or insurer. In Nebraska, we have doctor-choice rights as part of our workers’ compensation act. In other states, attorneys have filed RICO suits against unlawful combinations of employers, insurers and doctors who conspired to undercut the value of workers’ compensation claims. If you feel you are being treated unfairly by a doctor, you should contact an experienced attorney to see what your options are.

3. Work restrictions are difficult to measure. Work restrictions are usually measured by lifting and so-called “non-material handling” activities like walking, bending, climbing, etc. This can exclude a whole host of other restrictions, like noise tolerance, heat and cold sensitivity, as well as dust and chemical sensitivity, which can make a job difficult. Some serious restrictions can also defy easy attempts to measure them. Someone suffering the permanent effects of a head injury may get periodic headaches and sickness that force them to leave work on an irregular basis. This kind of restriction is difficult to measure during a medical examination or even in a functional capacity evaluation, but it certainly impacts someone’s ability to hold a job.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in employment law, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injury and tagged , , , .

Workers’ Compensation Basics: Understanding Medical Care and Treatment

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Doctor_examines_patientThis blog post is the next in the series that examines the basics of workers’ compensation.

The first, and perhaps most important, workers’ compensation benefit is the medical benefit. This is a workers’ compensation benefit that includes payment of all treatment for a work injury. The treatment can be as small as stitches from a cut finger all the way to complex spine surgery. Regardless, the treatment and medical care should be covered 100 percent by the employer or workers’ compensation insurance company. There is neither co-payment nor deductible due for the treatment for the work injury. This medical coverage for work injuries can potentially last for life, depending on the injury and circumstances.

Not only is all treatment, like surgery, covered for work injuries, but so are other methods of rehabilitation: like physical therapy and medication. In other words, there should not be any co-payments for physical therapy, prescription medication, or other medical devices. Further, the mileage traveling to and from the treatment (or even to the pharmacy) should be reimbursed. This year that rate is 57.5 cents per mile.

These tips below are important to ensure that all of your medical bills and prescriptions for your work injury continue to be properly paid in full.

When you go to your doctor for treatment, make sure to inform your medical provider that you are seeing them for a work-related injury or illness, and ask them to send the bills to your employer. Also, make sure to thoroughly explain to your medical provider how you were injured or how you became ill. Give details about how the accident or work activities injured you or made you sick. Finally, inform the medical provider everything about your injury or illness: where you hurt, how the pain feels, your ability to function at home and work, etc. If your doctor wants you to avoid certain activities in order to promote healing, be sure to get a written copy of those restrictions from your doctor.

Look for information about choosing a physician (physician choice) to treat a work injury in an upcoming blog post in the workers’ compensation basics series.

Read the previous blog posts in the series by clicking on these links:

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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Workers’ Compensation Basics: Provide Notice of Injury

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This blog post is the fourth in a series that examines the basics of workers’ compensation.

Whether an injured employee provided notice of an injury to their employer is an issue that often arises in a workers’ compensation case. It is always part of an injured worker’s burden to prove that they provided notice of their injury to their employer. However, an employer may raise this issue as a possible defense against the injured worker’s claim for benefits. Making sure an employer knows about an injury, regardless of whether the injured worker knows for sure that it is work-related, is typically a very simple – but very important – part of a workers’ compensation case.

The reasons for requiring notice make a lot of sense when you think about it: if the employer does not know about the injury, how can the employer know an injured worker may require medical care or other benefits? Different employers will have different procedures for reporting accidents and injuries, so it is important for employees to consult their employee handbook to find out what their employer expects. Ultimately, the claim may be compensable whether the injured worker followed the rules or not, but it is always the best policy to be proactive and avoid unnecessary problems down the road.

What happens if an injured worker thinks his or her injury might be work-related, but he or she is not sure and the injury isn’t reported right away? Maybe an accident occurred at work, but the injured worker did not notice any symptoms until the next day? Or they knew they were hurt, but did not seek medical care for several weeks because they thought it would go away on its own? Nebraska workers’ compensation law requires an employee to notify their employer of an injury “as soon as practicable” after the accident occurred. There is no answer in Nebraska as to what, exactly, “as soon as practicable” means in terms of days, weeks or months. It will depend on the facts of the case. Ideally, an accident occurs and an employee provides notice in writing immediately following the accident. When things don’t turn out “ideally,” however, if an employee can prove that the employer had sufficient notice or knowledge of the employee’s injury to lead a reasonable person to conclude that the injury was potentially compensable, the notice is considered sufficient under Nebraska law. The question is whether the employer knew enough that a reasonable employer would conclude they had better investigate further. This type of notice may come in the form of requests for time off to attend medical appointments, showing up to work with a brace on or the fact that an employer processes the employee’s bills with his or her group health insurance.

The important thing to remember about notice is just that: it is important. It is an important and simple step to take whenever an employee is injured. It can also be complicated, so consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney when you think you may have a notice problem or when your employer denies your claim because of an alleged lack of it.

Read the previous blog posts in the series by clicking on these links: 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Workers' Comp Basics, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injury and tagged , .